About Time

October 27, 2013 at 8:59 pm | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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There is a familiar feel to this Richard Curtis film: the streets of London; kitchens, hallways, and bathroom from Notting Hill; and understated Brits. Somehow this film just picks up from many of Curtis’ other films – its like putting on a pair of old slippers.

Warning: plot elements revealed.

At the start, Tim, played by Domhnall Gleeson, learns that the men in his family can travel in time. The rest is a light examination of love, morality, and life. There is an element of Groundhog Day, as Tim wins over the love-of-his-life – Mary, ably played by Rachel Adams. Bill Nighy does his usual understated best, as Tim’s dad.

Tim’s dad’s secret is to live everyday twice: the first time is like a technical rehearsal, the second time minimises the bad and focuses on the good. It is no wonder the family lives in Cornwall and is always having long idilic teas on the beach.

The film doesn’t have a villain – yet manages to deal with conflict and bad choices without one. Tim executes a major intervention in his sister’s life (timeline) when she starts to spiral downwards: he makes sure Kit Kat, played by Lydia Wilson, never meets her not so good for her boyfriend. Tim also learns that when you change time, you change many things – some bad things go away, but some good things can too.

Thus when Tim’s dad is diagnosed with cancer the two men do nothing: any time adjustment that is likely to save dad, will also erase the last 21+ years of family life. The film does a wonderful job of portraying the love and respect between a father and a son without either man having to wade through rivers of blood or enduring mass suffering.

In the end, it is about living your life, and enjoying the joyful moments – time travel is not necessary.

On the face of it, it is a film about time, but really its about life.

A lovely film; go see it.

Tutus on Tour (2013)

October 26, 2013 at 9:25 pm | Posted in Ballet Review, Dance Review, Show Review | Leave a comment
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I went to the Friday performance of the Royal New Zealand Ballet’s 2013 season of Tutus on Tour at the St James Theatre (in Wellington).

The show opened with Flower Festival at Genzano – ably danced by Lucy Green and Jacob Chown. The choreography by August Bournoville exhibits the classic footwork and fast leg movements of the Danish school. Opening with this piece is an excellent way for the company to re-introduce itself to an audience it might only perform for every 2-4 years.

Through to you, choreographed by Andrew Simmons, danced by Antonia Hewitt and Qi Huan, also caught my attention. There seemed to be a nice connection between Hewitt and Huan – with Huan showing a lyrical side of himself.

The First Act finished with a pas de deux from Don Quiote danced by Clytie Campbell and Brendan Bradshaw. This showcased some trademark Marius Petipa choreography: I’m afraid I succumbed and tried to counted the number of fouettes – 16 (?).

The Second Act was a wonderful adaptation of Peter and the Wolf. Persona dramaticus:

  • Peter – Rory-Fairweather-Neylan
  • Sister/Bird – Tonia Looker
  • Father/wolf – Qi Huan
  • Duck – Yang Liu
  • Cat – Clytie Campbell
  • Grandmother – Alayna Ng

The action all takes place in Peter’s bedroom. Tania Looker is fantastic bird; Clytie Campbell is a cat through-and-through; Yang Liu is was a great  duck – I thought her bill would have been better placed on her forehead, rather than her nose :-). All three looked wonderful en pointe. Being in Wellington, the Wellington Orchestra provided an excellent live music element.

The narration was done by Te Radar; I wonder who narrates for the other half of the company?

The 2013 season of Tutus on Tour has something for everyone, and Act II is for the child in everyone.

Gravity

October 4, 2013 at 9:35 pm | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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Interesting woman-alone story adapted for space – Dr Ryan Stone (Sandra Bullock) is adrift in low earth orbit without a re-entry capsule! George Clooney puts in a cameo.

Most of the film is just Stone/Bullock overcoming one adversity after another. It is quite a testing role for Bullock and good on her for doing something different.

I am not sure if the science – orbital mechanics – all stacks up, but it feels right, and you don’t need a degree in astro-physics to enjoy the movie.

The shots of earth are quite spectacular – even in 2-D. I saw the 2-D version because I did not want to be distracted by the special effects – the storyline and Bullock’s performance held my attention.

Worth a go.

PS: I went again, this time to the 3-D version, and it did make a small difference – some scenes looked better. Also, after a second look, I think that some of the laws of physics were ‘relaxed’: there should have been more rotational motion in the crucial scene with Bullock and Clooney. The final burn to rendezvous with the Chinese space station should have pushed Bullock into a higher orbit.

Riddick

October 4, 2013 at 8:48 pm | Posted in Film Review | Leave a comment
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Riddick is a Vin Diesel vehicle, with Katee Sackhoff putting in an appearance.

It is a western re-cast as science fiction – complete with bounty hunters.

The film moves the bar upwards for self-surgery: surpassing Sylvester Stallone‘s bullet self-cauterisation in Rambo. Riddick ends up being harpooned with a large bone fragment and to seal the wound he picks up a white hot piece of rock (about the same size as the piece of  bone) and pushing it into the wound!

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